Daniel Radcliffe is currently filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in London, but he took time out of his busy shooting schedule to speak with us about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which opens here on July 15.
What is the heart of the Half-Blood Prince, the core of the story?
Paranoia, I think it’s a very strong theme in the film, because it’s all about Harry’s increasing paranoia about Draco Malfoy becoming a member of the Death Eaters. And also it’s a theme that is in all of the films, death, and it’s moving it even closer.
Can you talk about Tom Felman’s performance as Draco in this movie?
It was interesting, because Tom’s role had gone quite quiet over the last few films, he was always present, but you never saw him half as much as you did in the first movie. I was quite nervous for him thinking, ‘What must he be feeling coming back on the set after these long breaks, suddenly having to do this major performance?’ and I couldn’t have wished for someone to rise to that challenge more than Tom did, I think he’s fantastic in this film. His performance and Rupert Grint’s performance are brilliant.
You had the consistency of Chris Columbus directing the first two films, and then you had different directors and now David Yates, what are the pros and cons of having the consistency of a director and the idea of individual directors?
It’s a very good question. Obviously if a new person comes in what’s good about that is that it keeps you on your toes and it makes you readjust, and I think particularly the younger years for us all, it was very important that we didn’t get complacent and I think that switching directors was a great help in that. With David, we know each other very well professionally and we know how he wants something to be done; we’re very good at communicating with each other now. And to be fair to all the other directors, they’ve all been very good communicators. But with David, sometimes nothing needs to be said, I’ll get to the end of a take, they’ll say, ‘Cut,’ and I’ll say, ‘Sorry, that was crap. I’d like to go again immediately.’ Because I know that what I did was not what David was looking for.
Half-Blood Prince was the first movie you filmed after the series of books had finished, did knowing where the story was going change your perspective or your approach to playing the character at all?
You know, I think it could have done but I actively tried to make sure that it didn’t, because obviously Harry doesn’t know what’s going to happen to him so really I shouldn’t be playing any prior knowledge within the film, because that would be wrong. If for a moment I thought I wouldn’t have been told the ending of the book, I would probably had not have read it and would have waited until we were doing the film to read it for myself. But I knew if I left it more than a week somebody would flap out the ending to me, so I thought I’d better get on and read it before somebody spoiled it for me.
Which are your favorite scenes in the series, the action ones or the quieter scenes?
I like the quieter scenes to play. There’s a lot of action, but the quieter scenes will, generally speaking, be where the heart is. Not that I’m saying there aren’t any emotionally intense action sequences. But it’s rare to see two people sitting down talking, but the stakes are very much higher emotionally. My favorite scene in the film is one I’m not in, which is when Rupert as Ron is in Quidditch practice, and it is genuinely laugh out loud funny, and I don’t laugh out loud that easily and I was laughing very, very hard watching that part of the film.